The new gaming revolution? Valve announces the Steam Box

At the moment, console makers definitely have the gaming market all sewn up. Really the choice is whether you go for Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s Playstation or Nintendo’s Wii.

But that could all be about to change. Rumours have been circulating for a while now that Valve, which is the firm behind the Steam PC gaming store, was gearing up to get into the gaming hardware market.

And, it turns out they were true. Valve boss Gabe Newell has now confirmed that the Steam Box is on its way.

Newell said consumers will be able to buy a living-room friendly PC package in 2013 and he’s more than ready to compete with the next generation consoles from the big console makers.

“I think in general,” added Newell, “that most customers, and most developers, are gonna find that the PC is a better environment for them, cause they won’t have to split the world into thinking about ‘why are my friends in the living room, why are my video sources in the living room different from everyone else?’ So, in a sense, we hopefully are gonna unify those environments.”

So far, Newell is remaining tight-lipped about the form of any new gizmo, only to state “our hardware will be a very controlled environment.” He’s describing it as more of a “turnkey” gadget than something you’ll be able to upgrade.

The move comes after the popularity of the company’s Big Picture Mode, a version of Steam designed to let you browse on large displays, like your living room television.

As Steam describes, Big Picture offers “simple, easy-to-read navigation designed specifically for TV. With full controller support, big-picture mode will let gamers kick back and enjoy their favourite games on the biggest screen in the house.”

There are some doubters who are, however, questioning whether the new gaming concept will work. Erik Kain, a contributor to Forbes, questioned how Valve would “balance the tinkering and upgrading needs of PC gamers with the nature of console development”.

He pointed out that console games will definitely work on your console whereas if you have a PC, there is no guarantee “your specs will be up to snuff”.

But he added: “Nonetheless, news that Valve hardware is on the way for 2013 still has me excited.”

And the news certainly had gaming forum users excited, with one person posting: “Well, I have to say, I’m on board for what gabe is talking about. I’m the market they’re appealing to. I’m a console and PC gamer.

“My problem? I work in an office 40 hours a week, at a computer at a desk. As much as I love PC gaming, I cannot bring myself to sit in front of a computer after being in front of one for eight hours.” He added: “So, I have to say, I’m honestly excited to see what Valve can come up with.”

And another says: “I’ve already got a large library on Steam so this is definitely relevant to my interests. The most desirable thing about Steam is how great the deals are around the holidays. If Valve continues to offer great deals like they do now after the box is released, I’ll likely get one.”

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